Approx. Time Difference
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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
The international office staff at your host university and a UCEAP staff member based in Utrecht will help you integrate into the culture and provide assistance with course selection, housing, safety, and other matters.
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code ..........011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Netherlands country code ......31
Utrecht city code ................. 30
Maastricht city code ..............43
Wageningen city code ..........317
Approximate Time Difference
Add 9 hours
Dutch Culture and Language Program
Your semester or year program starts with the Dutch Culture and Language Program (DCL). The DCL is required for all students and will take place in Utrecht and Maastricht. You will attend the DCL that is closest to your host university. In MyEAP, this program is called the Intensive Language Program (ILP), though the Dutch language is actually a minimal component. The DCL runs for approximately two weeks and is intended to acquaint you with the city and learn the Dutch customs and everyday phrases you may encounter while in the Netherlands. Although most coursework is in English, a rudimentary background in Dutch will help you understand the culture and enhance your academic and overall experience. The DCL is worth 3 UC quarter units (2 semester units) and must be taken for a letter grade.
Maastricht University, Business and Economics Program
Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE) attracts highly motivated and ambitious students from all over the world, and utilizes the Problem-Based Learning approach to studying (PBL). SBE is a highly ranked school in Economics and International Business Administration and offers study programs in international management, international economic studies, and international business studies. Coursework outside of Business and Economics is not available. Completion of at least the intermediate micro/macro-economics series is strongly recommended for admission to this program. Math through the level of introduction to calculus is also strongly recommended.
All courses are taught in English. The program provides the means for you to study international business in the European context and develop uniquely marketable skills, such as conference presentation and report writing, which will enhance your future career opportunities. In short, SBE is for UC students who are willing to work hard, and it is where they will meet the future leaders in European business and government.
Past UCEAP participants with high UC GPAs have described most courses as extremely demanding and challenging, and they often feel that they learned more in their courses at Maastricht than in UC courses. Many courses require a solid background in quantitative analysis and most demand excellent writing and presentation skills. It is imperative that you check course content and required or expected prerequisites well in advance, since it is rarely possible to change your course registration once the semester has started.
Library & Study Facilities
Maastricht University has a great library with printed and digital resources. The Ecostat, a separate part of the SBE collection, includes records of various international organizations as well as annual reports. The library has computer facilities, various study lounges, as well as printers and copiers. You may also utilize the technical libraries at the University of Eindhoven for interlibrary loans or on-site research work. Eindhoven is a 60-minute train ride from Maastricht.
The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Approach
The courses at Maastricht do not follow a traditional lecture format. The university uses a distinctive Problem-Based Learning (PBL) methodology where you will work in small groups (10–12 students) on tasks (“problems”) and set your own learning objectives based on your background, education, and work experience. Learning in this system takes a thematic, interdisciplinary approach so that both theoretical and practical issues are integrated. PBL is similar to graduate seminar work at UC. It is challenging and requires a combination of individual initiative and collaborative project management.
The core of PBL is the tutorial that meets for two hours twice a week. You will analyze problems from the Block Book, which provides you with tasks and study material, and defines your learning goals. The group will then disperse and you can work to reach these goals individually or with others. In each tutorial meeting, you will discuss the results of your study activities. A tutor (a lecturer or a senior student) also attends the meetings and serves as a subject expert. The tutor may guide the discussion whenever they believe this is needed.
PBL requires a great deal of self-motivation, independent study, and group study. You are expected to engage in study for 40 hours a week. Working in tutorial groups demands active participation. The social pressures exerted by group members often stimulate individual students to study diligently. You will learn useful skills, including how to work in teams, lead a group discussion, listen, summarize, and consider the interests and concerns of others.
A Block Book provides tasks and study material. At the end of the block period, faculty review student evaluations and exam results to determine if the designated learning goals have been achieved. If this is not the case, the block is modified and subsequent blocks are adjusted to ensure that students meet the objectives of each block.
You can use the SBE online course catalog
to search for courses. In making course selections, keep the following points in mind:
Courses at Maastricht are offered in seven- or eight-week blocks. You are required to register for two blocks each semester with two courses in each block. Each course is worth 6 quarter/4 semester UC units and you will earn 24 quarter/16 semester UC units per semester.
You can take 1 course per semester for P/NP.
You will receive an e-mail from the International Officer at SBE with information concerning online registration for courses, deadlines, and procedures. It is important that you make your selection by the deadline; it may be impossible to drop or add courses once the deadline passes. The staff at SBE offers wonderful support when it comes to course selection. Be sure to take advantage of their advising and send in your prospective course list as soon as they contact you.
Notes on Course Registration
Course registration at the host university alone does not constitute UC registration. You must register all host university courses in MyEAP to receive UC credit.
To receive credit for coursework completed abroad, you must meet the deadline for submitting course information into MyEAP. You will receive a Netherlands Academic Handbook with information on how to complete and submit your study list.
After your study list has been reviewed by the Academic Coordinator and the UCEAP Systemwide Office, it will be unlocked for ONE WEEK and you will have the opportunity to make changes to your grading option, units, or subject area for your courses. At the end of that week your study list will be locked and you will only be able to request changes through a general petition. The Academic Coordinator will provide you with the relevant deadlines at your academic orientation.
Do not drop a course with your host university without first consulting with UCEAP. If you drop a course without receiving prior approval from UCEAP you will receive an F on your UC transcript.
You will find that the final exams for Maastricht courses emphasize the entire reading list provided in the Block Book for each course. Many exams test your understanding of complicated theories and models covered only in that reading and not in group projects or discussion.
It is common practice for Maastricht students to re-sit exams in which their marks were lower than they had hoped; however, this is not an option for most students because you will not be onsite in the Netherlands during the re-examination period, so be prepared to do well on the final exam the first time it is administered. If you are eligible for a re-sit of your exam you must consult with the UCEAP Academic Coordinator and get permission from the Systemwide Office prior to registering for the re-sit. For those who do re-sit exams, note that if the grade of the re-sit is lower than the first try, the lesser grade will still count.
Grades for the fall semester are typically available by mid-March and grades for the spring semester are typically available by mid-August.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
UCEAP encourages you to extend participation. If you are enrolled in a fall program, you have the option to extend your participation to the full year once you are abroad. If you are considering extending, notify the Campus EAP Office before departure for your program and complete a Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form to expedite the process.
Approval of extension is based on a number of factors, including academic performance and available space at the host university. The request must also be supported by the Academic Coordinator in the Netherlands, your UC campus faculty advisor, department head, and dean or provost.
If you complete a DPA before departure, you must submit a Request for Final Approval to Extend to UCEAP by November 1. If you do not complete a DPA, you will need to submit a Petition to Extend form by the deadline. This can take up to six weeks to process.
Once your extension is approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation
chapter in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Residence Permit Extension
If you extend your participation, you will need to apply for an extension of your residence permit at least four weeks before it expires. Extensions currently cost €154. If you anticipate extension, it is less expensive to apply for a residence permit for the entire academic year than to apply for a residence permit for the fall and pay the additional fee to extend the permit to the year.
Get acquainted with European affairs, the Netherlands, and Dutch culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet
are excellent resources. Past UCEAP participants recommend Lonely Planet’s Shoestring Guide to Western Europe and Michelin the Green Guide: Netherlands.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. You can read about European current events in papers such as The Economist
and the New York Times
. The BBC website
is another excellent online source.
Pop Quizzes - During the pre-departure period, you may occasionally receive a pop quiz from the UCEAP Systemwide Office via email. You are not required to respond with your answers, but you should know the answers to the questions being asked. They will be important to your participation in your program.
Improve Your Language Skills
Many people in the Netherlands speak excellent English, and English is the language of instruction for all courses.
You will have a better range of educational opportunities and will better adjust to your new environment if you learn some Dutch before departure—at least enough to read signs, understand numbers, ask directions, etc. You may want to use language CDs or take a course if one is available. The Dutch Culture and Language course prior to the start of the semester familiarizes you with the basics of the language.
You may find Dutch people initially reserved toward strangers. This should not be interpreted as unfriendliness. The Dutch are friendly, although it is usually up to someone else to break the ice. As in any foreign country, remember that you are the guest; you are not there to change or judge the local customs and culture.
The Dutch respect the privacy of others. Neighbors, for example, will not introduce themselves to the newcomer who just moved in. They wait to be invited for coffee, and they leave the newcomer alone. The stranger must make the first move.
The following are a few tips to keep in mind:
- When a Dutch person answers the phone, he/she says his/her own name. You must always announce yourself when speaking on the phone: “Hello, this is Jane. Is John available?”
- People shake hands and introduce themselves when entering a room. Many women kiss each other on the cheeks as well.
- Dutch people expect promptness, and a small gift is customary when visiting someone’s home (flowers or a bottle of wine are typical).
- The Dutch are straightforward, even blunt, and they are accustomed to far less personal space than are Americans.
- On your birthday, you bring cake for your colleagues or housemates.
Many people believe that the Netherlands has a tolerant culture by reputation, but this is changing rapidly. Most Dutch look down upon drug use and alcohol abuse.
As of January 1, 2013, it is no longer legal for non-residents of the Netherlands to visit the "coffee shops" located throughout the country. (With the exception of the tourist areas of Amsterdam.)
The use of marijuana and hashish (soft drugs as denoted by the Dutch Narcotic Act) has long been legal in regulated coffee shops in the Netherlands; however the government has now passed a law that makes it legal only for Dutch residents with proper identification. It is also important to note that use of these drugs is not tolerated on the street or in any other public establishments. It is forbidden in university-sponsored housing and past students have been evicted for drug use. The use of hard drugs is not tolerated anywhere and possession carries strong penalties. This violation of host university and UCEAP regulations may result in dismissal from UCEAP. Be aware of the consequences of your actions.
Be especially careful to never cross the Netherlands' border with any amount of any drugs in your possession, as the United Nations Drug Convention prosecutes any possession and there will be jail time in Germany, France, or Belgium.
Read the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy. You are responsible for learning, understanding, and adhering to UCEAP, UC, and local laws and regulations.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
You are required to attend the Dutch Culture and Language Program. The Official Arrival and Start Date for your program is located in the program calendar on the Participants page on the UCEAP website. If you fail to appear on the Official Arrival and Start Date, you are subject to dismissal from the program (see Student Agreement). You will find detailed arrival information on the Arrival Information Sheet in the online Pre-Departure Checklist.
The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. In order to be kept informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes in your address, telephone number, or e-mail address.
During the Dutch Culture and Language Program (DCL), you will attend a MANDATORY orientation regarding UCEAP academic policies (study lists, courses, grades, etc.). You will also learn about local resources for health, safety, and financial matters. After the DCL, you are required to attend your host university orientation as listed in your program calendar.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
You must make and pay for your own travel arrangements to the Netherlands, even if you are on financial aid. The Financial Aid Office will not do it for you. If you are not a U.S. or EU citizen, you may be required to purchase a round-trip ticket in order to obtain a residence permit. U.S. citizens do not need to purchase round-trip airline tickets. When purchasing a round-trip ticket, make sure it allows changes to the return date for a relatively low fee.
- See your Pre-Departure Checklist for detailed arrival information.
- Note the start date and time before purchasing an airline ticket.
- Purchase a changeable airline ticket.
- Always personally carry your valuables when traveling (passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, money)—never pack in your checked luggage.
- Confirm your flight schedule with the airline at least 48 hours prior to departure (flights are often changed or canceled).
- Get to the airport at least 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight time!
The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. In order to be kept informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes in your address, telephone number, or e-mail address.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Dutch law requires that everyone carry official identification at all times (a passport or national ID card - not a driver’s license). Additional info about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and in the online UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist
U.S. citizens must apply for a residence permit to study in the Netherlands. If you are a citizen of Switzerland or any European Union member state, you will not need a residence permit. If you are a citizen of one of these countries—or a dual national—UCEAP urges you to enter the Netherlands on your non-U.S. passport. If your U.S. passport is stamped on entry, you will need to apply for the residence permit despite your dual national status.
You will apply for the residence permit through your host university in the Netherlands. They will contact you via e-mail with detailed instructions. You must respond to them in a timely manner. The fee for the student residence permit is currently €311, payable directly to your host university prior to your program start date.
The residence permit is a legal document required to study in the Netherlands. It does not entitle you to stay in the Netherlands for reasons other than study (such as work). Failure to obtain the permit is a violation of Dutch law and UCEAP’s agreements with the Dutch host institutions and can result in expulsion from the program. Grades will not be given to students who fail to comply! The Dutch Alien Police visit residence halls to check on compliance; failure to produce adequate documentation will result in a fine, deportation, and/or restrictions on future entry to the Netherlands.
Australia, Canada, New Zealand & South Korea citizens: You have the possibility to apply for the WHP (Canada, S. Korea) or WHS (Australia, New-Zealand) instead of a residence permit for study purposes. The fee for the WHP/WHS permit is currently €51. As with the residence permit, You will apply for the WHP or WHS through your host university in the Netherlands. They will contact you via e-mail with detailed instructions.
Authorization for Temporary Residence (MVV) or Visa
Citizens of the U.S., Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, or any European Union member state do not need an Authorization for Temporary Residence (MVV) or visa before entering the Netherlands.
Citizens of any country not listed above, must apply for the MVV prior to departure. Notify UCEAP of your country of citizenship to initiate the visa application process. The processing period can take three months; in some cases it may take longer. Your host university in the Netherlands will assist with the MVV process. You will need the MVV to obtain the mandatory residence permit in the Netherlands.
The MVV has to be picked up at the Dutch consulate in the United States before departure to the Netherlands. If you don’t have a valid MVV at the time you go through Dutch customs, you will not be allowed into the country.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
- Warm coat
- Scarves, hats, and gloves
- Clothing that can be layered
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Bath towel(s)
- Prescription medication
- Residence permit documents
- Voltage converter and plug adapter (see the Electric Current section in this chapter)
- One dressy outfit for formal occasions
- Warm pajamas
- Any sports attire you may need
- Small, lightweight gifts (for new friends)
Identify each item of your luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended.
Check with your airline for luggage restrictions.
Consider purchasing a TSA-approved lock for your checked luggage. You can find information about this, along with other useful travel tips on the Transportation Security Administration website at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips
You will need warm clothes for wet, cold weather. A good winter coat with a scarf is standard attire during the winter. Warm winter clothes and sturdy walking shoes are available in the Netherlands, but they can be expensive. Fashion is overall fairly casual on campus.
The voltage in Europe is 220–240 rather than the standard U.S. 110–120 volts. Most electrical sockets have round holes (this varies throughout Europe). Note that many laptops and other electronics, such as MP3 players and digital cameras, are already dual-voltage (110V-240V) and do not need a converter. Check your power supply pack for acceptable voltage. You will need only an adapter plug for dual-voltage items to use the outlets. If you have a grounded (three-prong) plug, you might invest in a combination surge protector/adapter plug. One model that is available at many travel stores is the EuroSurge, which fits Dutch outlets and can handle two U.S. three-prong plugs. Every semester, students blow the fuses in their rooms and damage their computers, cameras, etc., by mistakenly plugging them into a converter. UCEAP advises you to leave your hair dryer and curling iron at home and buy them locally to avoid electrical problems.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
Most countries in Europe use the euro (€) for currency. More information about the euro is available at the European Central Bank website.
It is a good idea to have $400 exchanged into euros (in various denominations) prior to departure so you can get familiar with the currency and pay for incidental costs, such as snacks, the train reduction card, the OV-chipcard, and bus or taxi fares.
Banking & ATMs
ATMs are the best way to access funds while you are abroad. Inform your bank that you will be studying abroad and confirm that you will be able to withdraw cash with your ATM card in Europe. Ask about fees and the daily limit for withdrawals. Generally, a four-digit PIN will work throughout Europe. It is best if your card is affiliated with Visa or MasterCard so that you can obtain cash advances if an ATM does not work.
Due to fraud, some banks have blocked ATM cards when used abroad, suspecting that they were stolen. Be sure to notify your bank that you will be using the card in Europe.
You may be able to open an account with the Dutch bank, ING. If you are staying for the academic year, you should be able to open an account with the Dutch bank, Rabobank. You will receive details during the DCL and/or from your host university in the Netherlands. (Each partner has different agreements with the banks.)
Commercial Exchange Companies
These exchange offices, often at the border or in airports and larger train stations, allow you to change money, obtain cash advances using credit cards, or cash travelers checks and Eurocheques. GWK, as they are called, has many locations throughout the Netherlands, mostly at railway stations. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday hours may be shorter, or they may be closed the entire day. The branches at the Central Station in Amsterdam and at Schiphol Airport are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Throughout Europe it is now required that all credit cards have a chip. Most U.S. banks are now issuing this type of card. Make sure that your credit card has a chip prior to going abroad.
Credit cards are not commonly used in smaller stores or restaurants in the Netherlands (unless it is a chain establishment from the U.S. or the United Kingdom). Supermarkets do not accept credit cards. Be prepared for this and carry cash with you at all times.
Though procedures vary, you can usually arrange to receive cash advances on credit cards. Check with your credit card company to find out what services are offered and where, and what the fees are.
Be sure to notify your credit card company that you will be using your card in Europe.
Most of the larger Dutch post offices (postkantoren) can receive Western Union wire transfers. You will need identification, however, so always keep a copy of your passport secure and separate from your other financial documents and cards.
All buildings in the Guesthouse have Internet access, and much of it is wireless. Specific information will be available from the Guesthouse.
University computer facilities are a distance from the Guesthouse. Given the amount of work required in the Maastricht programs, a laptop can be indispensable.
The Maastricht University Intranet e-mail account is the only method used to communicate important academic matters, such as lecture and exam times. Thus, it is imperative that you check your Maastricht University e-mail account and mailbox frequently. Failure to use the Maastricht Intranet to obtain updates can have serious negative consequences on your academic experience.
You will have access to university computers. Advanced computer equipment is widely available and you will be given an e-mail address. You can also check this via the MU Blackboard system called ELEUM; once you have applied online and receive your ID and password, you can access ELEUM and explore the information provided.
Students studying in Maastricht will receive a pre-paid cell phone upon arrival at the DCL. You will receive full instructions and detailed information at that time. Pay phones are available in the university residences and at the faculty buildings. There are no individual phones available in the rooms.
Approximate time difference: add 9 hours
You are strongly advised to have a cell phone while in the Netherlands. Aside from being the most convenient way to communicate, they are particularly useful for emergencies. If you own a smartphone, check with your provider about using it abroad. There may be inexpensive options available.
There are apps available for smartphones that enable very cheap or even free communication such as WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Viber. (Read all information and contracts before signing up for any apps.)
and Google Voice
are good options for Internet calls offering competitive rates.
Prior to departure, you can obtain an MCI, Sprint, or AT&T international calling card to facilitate communication with the U.S. These cards enable you to connect with an English-speaking operator. Investigate the possibilities before departure and shop for the best services and rates.
You can make long-distance phone calls from a post office. A clerk will direct you to a booth, and you pay the amount due when the call is finished (the disadvantage is that long-distance calls are the least expensive in the evening, during the weekend, and on official holidays—hours when the post office is closed).
You can call the U.S. from the Netherlands by dialing 001+area code + phone number.
When calling to the Netherlands, you need to dial the country code first (31), then the city code without the 0, and then the extension. Do not forget to dial out of your country first (dial 011 if you call the Netherlands from the U.S.).
All phone numbers in the Netherlands consist of ten digits. The first three or four numbers starting with a 0 are the city code, which you only need to dial when you are calling a city you are not in. The last six or seven numbers are the extension.
All cell phone numbers start with 06, followed by eight digits. When calling from abroad to a cell phone, omit the 0 before the 6.
For collect calls, dial 0800-0101 (free), ask for a collect call, and then give your number and the number to be called.
To reach an international operator, make a collect call, or dial toll-free to a number outside the Netherlands, dial 0800-0410; to speak to a local operator or make a collect call within the Netherlands, dial 0800-0101.
You also have the option of purchasing a prepaid phone card to make long-distance and local phone calls from public and private phones.
You may send mail prior to the program start date to:
School of Business and Economics
International Relations Office
Attn: [Student’s Name]
6200 MD Maastricht
Packages should be properly labeled in order to avoid delays and steep customs fees. UCEAP strongly discourages shipping laptops and other expensive electronic goods. Clearly label noncommercial goods appropriately as follows:
- Used personal American goods
- American goods for personal temporary use while in the Netherlands
- Exchange student supplies
- Small gifts
The EU has a regulation that says most customs taxes and commercial taxes for student goods can be waived. Typically, used items are not taxed, but new items might be taxed.
Do not inflate the value of package contents for insurance purposes. Packages that are valued at more than €45 will be held and taxed. Customs fees will be based on the declared value of the goods. The key is to inform Dutch customs that the package contains goods for personal and temporary use and that the declared value is reasonable.
You are responsible for all room and board costs during the regular term in the Netherlands. You must make your own housing payments (even if you are on financial aid).
The Dutch Culture and Language Course (DCL) will take place in Maastricht. Your housing during the DCL will be prearranged by the Center for European Studies (CES) at the Guesthouse, in a building for international students.
Students can choose from one of the following rooms:
• P building, Brouwersweg 100:
Rooms are fully furnished and have their own kitchen. You have a choice of a single or double room. The communal showers and toilets are shared by 15-30 people. All rooms are equipped with a TV. The kitchens have their own refrigerator and electric cook plate, but no microwave. This location has (free of charge) laundry facilities with washing machines, dryers, ironing boards and irons.
• C building, Brouwersweg 100:
Rooms are furnished and have communal kitchens and living rooms with TV. The communal showers and toilets are shared by 12-16 people. You have a choice of a single or double room. The communal kitchens are equipped with a refrigerator, microwave oven and an electric cooking plate. This location has (free of charge) laundry facilities with washing machines, dryers, ironing boards and irons.
Maastricht Term Housing
You will remain in your DCL housing at the Guesthouse throughout your term in Maastricht. (See information above.)
Details will be sent to you via e-mail directly from CES.
Your housing cost is included in your UCEAP fees. Withdrawal fees will be applied for withdrawals occurring after 8 weeks prior to the start date of the program.
You cannot rent space in a university Guesthouse with a spouse and/or dependents.
In the Netherlands it is customary to have cold meals for breakfast and lunch and a hot meal for dinner. In common kitchens, there may be a cooking schedule. Students often take turns cooking a hot meal. This way of cooking is inexpensive because everyone who attends dinner shares in the cost of the meal. If you decide to cook a meal for the corridor, you have to buy and pay (in advance) for the food yourself. At the end of the month the expenses are divided and paid. The refrigerator and cupboard are also shared. Be sure to label the food you store in the kitchen.
Dinner is often the best time for socializing, so you are advised to have your meals together with Dutch students. It will enable you to learn more about Dutch life and make friends. However, you are not obligated to have your meals together and you can always prepare your own meals if you like.
There is a cafeteria at the Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics that you will be able to use.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Bicycles are the most common mode of transportation in the Netherlands. You can buy a secondhand bike for approximately €50 to €100. Budget additional money to purchase two locks. Bicycle theft is common, and two locks are necessary. Supervised parking areas for bikes (fietsenstalling) are usually available at train stations (where many thefts occur).
Bicycles have the right-of-way except when there is a clear stop sign or when coming from a residential area with restricted speed limits and speed bumps. Be mindful that streets are narrow and cars drive quickly through winding medieval streets, so take serious safety precautions at all times.
You may want to buy an ov-chipkaart
at the bus station for travel by bus, train or tram. This is the most convenient way to get around. See the OV-chipkaart
website for more information. Another good website for travel information is Journeyplanner
The public transportation system in the Netherlands is reliable. There is a good public bus system and an excellent rail system. Buy a discount card for the railway system. The cost is approximately €55, and it will provide you with a 40 percent reduction on train travel. During July and August, the reduction is valid all day, but beginning in September the reduction is only valid after 9 a.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. This card enables you to take up to three other people along at the discounted rate when you travel in a group. The DCL may require train travel for some assignments. You are not eligible for a Dutch student public transportation card (OV card); you can only purchase a general reduction card.
Trains run frequently to the big cities. Between midnight and 6 a.m., a night train runs between Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. All Dutch trains are nonsmoking, and smoking is restricted in all stations. There are both first- and second-class tickets; a first-class ticket costs about 40 percent more than a second-class ticket. A seat cannot be guaranteed during rush hour, even in first-class compartments.
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while abroad is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community.
Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
Opportunities are not limited to those mentioned in this guide. UCEAP participants have enjoyed joining dance, music, and theater groups; intramural sports teams; and clubs devoted to Ultimate Frisbee, climbing, and publishing.
The city of Maastricht embraces opportunities for students to participate in sports. The Maastricht University sporting agency manages various facilities and organizes training sessions, lessons, and events. If you have a sports card, you can participate in these activities whenever available.
Students with Disabilities
While in the Netherlands, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Dutch law guarantees equality and the right to access for people with disabilities.
In the Netherlands, discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities is illegal. The law requires equal access to employment, education, health care, and other state services, and that persons with disabilities have access to public buildings, information, and communications. Despite continued progress, public buildings and public transport are not always easily accessible in practice. Criminal penalties--including fines and administrative sanctions--exist for those who do not provide sufficient access for handicapped individuals; however, government enforcement of the rules is limited.
Through the Disability Support Office at Maastricht University and the UCEAP Systemwide Office Program Specialist, you can find out how to apply for support
Contact the UCEAP Systemwide Office immediately after you are selected by your campus.
Once in Maastricht, you can make an appointment with the Disability Support Office at Bonnefantenstraat 2, between 11:00 and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Phone: (31 43) 388 5272
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Students who are not citizens of the Netherlands (or another EU country), Switzerland or Japan are not legally allowed to work in the Netherlands.
For more information,
LGBT individuals enjoy full rights and are protected by anti-discrimination laws. There are no legal or governmental impediments to the organization of LGBT events. A law that took effect on July 1, 2014, allows transgender people to change the gender marker in their official identity papers to their preferred gender. It does away with previous requirements for taking hormones and surgery, including irreversible sterilization.
In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in modern times to legalize same-sex marriage and grant full marriage and registered partnership rights to same-sex couples. The Dutch Justice Ministry has reported a rise in reporting of harassment (mostly verbal abuse) of LGBT individuals as a result of government campaigns urging victims to report incidents.
Local & International News
You can easily keep up with U.S. news as the Dutch media are internationally oriented. Numerous foreign stations can be received through cable television and radio. The majority of films shown in movie theaters are from abroad and national newspapers give a great deal of space to international news. International newspapers and magazines are available at some bookshops, and newspapers generally are available in the reading rooms of public libraries.
The main Dutch newspapers are NRC Handelsblad, De Volkskrant, De Telegraaf, and Trouw. Weeklies that provide general information and news commentaries are Vrij Nederland, HP/De Tijd, and Elsevier’s Weekblad. Vrij Nederland offers a weekly overview of cultural activities.
English language weeklies such as Time and Newsweek are readily available, as is the International Herald Tribune. British newspapers such as the Guardian are also available at newsstands at the Central Station and around Wilhelmina Park.
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim proces
or about non-medical claims
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is your responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status
ACI at email@example.com.
Liability insurance is highly recommended for all students studying in the Netherlands.
Personal liability insures you against costs incurred if you cause damage to someone else or their possessions (for example: if you cause a traffic accident with your bicycle or as a pedestrian).
The UCEAP insurance policy does not include liability coverage.
In addition to the following sections, read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad. For additional travel health information, access the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health web page.
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country.
You need to register with a doctor prior to making an appointment to see a doctor. This registration can be done by either showing 15 minutes early for your appointment and take care of the paperwork or by visiting the doctor specifically for registration. Early registration—before you ever need to see a doctor—is strongly advised.
Most doctors can be reached by phone during the morning hours; it’s advisable to call as early as possible in the day if you want an appointment that same day. If you can’t reach the doctor by phone, you can visit his or her practice and have an assistant help you making an appointment. Your host university student handbook will have addresses of doctors.
Hospital emergency rooms are only for patients with severe injuries brought in by an ambulance. If it’s not an emergency, the hospital will ask to pay the normal emergency fee which is several times higher as the normal fee.
If you need to see a specialist, you will need a doctor’s referral.
Medical care is based on a referral system (similar to an HMO in the U.S.), which will require you to see a local huisart (home doctor or GP). Huisarts administer first line, primary care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Medical specialists will generally only see you if you have been referred.
Dutch terms that will help you find what you need:
• Doctor/ General Practitioner = Dokter/ Huisarts
• Dentist = Tandarts
• Pharmacy = Apotheek
• Hospital = Ziekenhuis
• Emergency Room = Eerste Hulp
Your UCEAP travel insurance policy covers your treatment if you are sick or injured. It does not cover preventive care. If you have questions about your benefits, email ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be required to pay at time of service and submit a claim for reimbursement through ACI. The insurance company will issue a refund check, for covered services, in U.S. dollars and mail it to your U.S. address.
Expect to pay about € 30-50 for a doctor’s consult. When you get a bill from your doctor in Dutch, your host university coordinator can help you with translation for filing your medical insurance claim.
If sick or injured, contact the family doctor located right next to the Guest House where you will live.
Family Doctor: Huisartsenpraktijk De Poort
Becanusstraat 15, Maastricht
Telephone: +31 (0) 43 347 55 50
Between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am: +31 (0) 43 387 7777
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, contact the International Student Office of your university immediately. Your host university will have lists of doctors who have worked with international students in the past. They can recommend a clinic to visit and make arrangements with your professors if extended absence from class is expected.
Know Before you Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Pharmacies (Apotheek) are widely available, but will not dispense drugs based on a U.S. prescription. You will need a prescription from a doctor licensed to practice in the Netherlands.
Some commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. are not available in the Netherlands and it is illegal to mail them into the country. Do not have medications shipped to you; they will be confiscated by Dutch Customs.
Carry an adequate supply of prescription drugs in their clearly-labeled original container in your carry-on luggage. Carry a letter from your physician describing the medical condition, treatment, and any prescription medications regimen, including generic names. You can take this letter to a Dutch doctor who will assess whether the same medication can be prescribed.
Narcotics and dangerous drugs are prohibited entry. There are severe civil and/or criminal penalties if imported. Cannabis in any form, even if prescribed as medication is prohibited.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at email@example.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
Traveling with prescription medications
- Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
- Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary?
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Consult with ACI, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.
Student counselors are available for a wide range of mental health issues. You can make appointments through the Student Service Center, located at the Service & Information Desk, Bonnefantenstraat 2. Visit the Maastricht Student Service Center website
, Psychological Support, for more information.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone. Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends. If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of
life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
U.S. citizens have died or been injured while using marijuana, hashish, and other “soft drugs” Marijuana is a controlled substance, and possession is a misdemeanor that can result in a fine.The use of illegal “soft drugs” has been tolerated when bought in small quantities forpersonal consumption at licensed “coffee shops.” ”Coffee shops” are a haven for pettycriminals who prey on tourists and other individuals under the influence of drugs.
Persons who visit “coffee shops” have become victims of pickpocketing, identity theft, sexual assault, and other crimes. Visitors are warned that marijuana may contain higher levels of THC than whatis common in the U.S., often exacerbating the drug’s effects and a user’s impairment.
Additionally, “coffee shops” and other locations are known to sell other illegal, hard drugs(psychotropic mushrooms). Visitors are cautioned against using drugs and should payparticular attention to the use of GHB and Rohypnol (so-called “date-rape” drugs), which can be added to or mixed with beverages, rendering the victim vulnerable.
Street drug sales of cocaine and MDMA are common in Amsterdam, and dealers will approach tourists. Heroin is also available but less common. Many street dealers also sell counterfeit drugs that can be harmful when ingested. For example, Amsterdam police have reported an increase in white heroin being sold as cocaine. This has resulted in an alarming death rate and reports of medical emergencies among unsuspecting tourists who were lead tobelieve they had purchased cocaine instead of heroin.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
Precautions to take include:
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Air pollution routinely exceeds recommended thresholds in urban areas, especially in Rotterdam, Breda, and Amsterdam. Individuals with asthma or chronic cardiorespiratory conditions should consult with a healthcare provider and carry necessary medications. On days when air quality is particularly poor, affected individuals should take personal precautions to reduce respiratory stress.
Update your local contact information through MyEAP so UCEAP can reach you in case of an emergency.
In addition to the following sections, read the Safety chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
The risk of violent crime towards Americans is low throughout most of the Netherlands, and the U.S. Embassy is unaware of tourist/visitors being targeted, other than petty crimes. Although it remains rare, some increase in violent crime has occurred throughout the Netherlands, mainly in the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Petty crime is common. Pickpockets, purse snatchers, and thieves target individuals in metropolitan areas such as Amsterdam and The Hague (Den Haag). Most crimes are committed by gangs of youths between the ages of 12 and 18. Passport, identity, and plane ticket theft is also common. Carry copies of important documentation, not originals.
UCEAP makes every reasonable effort to provide you with information and advise on potential risks and necessary precautions. Maximizing health and safety while abroad requires your cooperation with UCEAP. You are responsible for your own personal safety. Safety issues will be discussed at the orientation at the beginning of your program. Until then, keep up with the latest news in the Netherlands and take steps to increase your security awareness. Take time before departure to improve your knowledge of personal safety protocols—things are not the same everywhere in the world.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Most crime in the Netherlands, as in Europe generally, is directed against property. Bicycle theft is common. There is a very low incident of violent crime.
Petty crime is most frequent in train/tram stations. Keep all valuables—especially wallets, passports, and credit cards—in buttoned or zippered pockets, money belts, or fastened bags while walking about major cities, especially in tourist areas or at festivals. Your actions and appearance can minimize the risk of becoming a victim. Never leave bags, backpacks, or cases unattended.
Be cautious about inviting casual acquaintances home. Burglary is on the rise in the student residences. Be sure to lock your room doors and windows, and keep valuable items in locked drawers or closets. If you take valuable items abroad, such as a laptop or an expensive camera, make sure that they are insured. There is limited personal property coverage through your UCEAP travel unsurance policy. Make sure it is adequate. For more information, read your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Demonstrations are commonplace in the Netherlands and may range in number from a few demonstrators to several thousand. Prior police notice is required for public demonstrations, and police oversight is routinely provided. Nonetheless, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. We urge you to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if near one.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
The Netherlands has one of the best traffic safety records in Europe. Road network is extensive and well maintained. Cities are designed to meet the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.
Travel in, around, and between cities is possible via a highly developed national public transportation system, an extensive system of bike paths, and by automobile on a modern highway system. The rail network, which is about 70% electrified, is efficient and connects all towns. Intercity and local trains run at least every 30 minutes on all principal routes. Rail and bus timetables are integrated, and there is a common fare structure throughout the country. Rail network information
is available online.
Intercity travel by road is relatively safe in comparison to some other European countries. The safety record of public transporation is excellent. Extensive regional bus networks exist. Bus and tram service are convenient and economical.
Taxi service in the Netherlands is safe but expensive. Trams and buses are both convenient and economical, but are often frequented by pickpockets. For more information about travel in Holland, visit the website of the Dutch Board of Tourism and Conventions.
Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety
In addition to separate bike paths, there are bike paths along main roads and roads with low traffic levels. Main bike paths are paved. Some bridges and cut-throughs are for cyclists and pedestrians only. Offices, business, and retail stores are located close to residential areas and are easily accessed by public transport or bike. Most one-way streets are two-way for cyclists. There are about 15,000 km/9,300 miles of designated bike paths and routes. Biking is popular because of the mild climate and flat terrain.
Bike paths have special signage. There are facilities for cyclists at traffic lights such as waiting spaces in front of motor vehicles. Cyclists are permitted to turn right on red at some intersections. Bike racks, clamps and guarded bike shelters are located near main public transport stops. Vehicular traffic is restricted to certain main streets. Read more about traffic rules and regulations for bicyclists
before you venture on a bike.
Pedestrians should not walk along bicycle paths, which are often adjacent to the sidewalk andusually designated by red pavement. Bicyclists and pedestrians should be particularlycautious during the winter when paths, roads, and especially bridges can be icy and extremelyslippery. Accidents involving bicyclists and vehicles, or bicycles alone, are common and canresult in serious injury.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians should be particularly cautious during the winter months, when paths, roads, and especially bridges can be icy and extremely slippery.
- Be alert for trams, which may cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths. alert for trams, which may cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths.
- Pedestrians have the right of way in a pedestrian crossing, even if they are just beginning to step into the crossing.
- Avoid walking on bicycle paths (designated by red pavement).
- The markings indicating a zebra crossing may not be well maintained, cross with care.
- Pedestrians must yield right of way to cars, trucks, and motorbikes, unless signs indicate otherwise.
- Pedestrians have right of way when disembarking a public transport vehicle if there is no wayside station. Pedestrians who are disabled always have right of way.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University
prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other
prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or
University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively
to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to
prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that
violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these
behaviors has occurred.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security provider, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
All businesses in the Netherlands are required to take measures to avoid potential fire hazards. How you react in the event of fire depends on how well you have prepared for a fire emergency.
Make sure you are familiar with:
- The host university’s alarm number
- Evacuation protocols
- Floor-plans of the building(s)
- Locations of fire-extinguishers and the fire alarm-buttons
- Escape routes and emergency exits
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
In case of fire - Dial 112.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the U.S.
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are abroad
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times.
If you need immediate emergency assistance, call 112 for Police, Ambulance, and Fire Department
If necessary, call the emergency number of the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam: 31 (0) 70 310 2209
U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Business Hours: M–F, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Phone: (011-31) 020-575-5309
Fax: (011-31) 020 575 5330
After-Hours Emergency Phone: (011-31) 070 310 2209
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Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.